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The Compensations of Memory

Author(s): Evgenia Ivanova
Subject(s): Cultural Essay, Political Essay, Societal Essay

Summary/Abstract: The Pomaks’ ‘fluctuating’ identity has so far been the subject of numerous interpretations, starting with the fabrications and speculations rooted in the Bulgarian Revival – about the forced and large-scale nature of the ‘conversion to Islam’ – to the newly created ‘theories’ of their Arab, Turkish, Thracian or proto-Bulgarian origin. In fact, it is exactly this ‘fluctuating’ identity that gives rise to the hypotheses of the Pomaks’ origin, and not vice versa, as it would only be reasonable to assume. Among this proliferation of ‘scientific’ theories, the specific documental aspect of the ‘Pomak’ phenomenon, based on reliable sources (above all, the Ottoman tax records), remains somehow unnoticed, seemingly meant for a rather narrow academic community. The ‘war’ of interpretations, nourished not so much by scholarly precision but by legendary images most often serving particular political interests, continues to this day. This ‘war’ is reflected not only in a further exacerbation of such ‘fluctuating’ identity, but also in tendentious (and again politically motivated) disputes on the notion itself. The result of all this is the ever growing encapsulation and marginalization of this rather interesting cultural and religious community, as well as the emerging tendency toward bringing forward an ethnic self-awareness of its own.

  • Issue Year: 2015
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 223-236
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Bulgarian